Squads of elite French police have begun moving in on a nursery school in the east of the country where an armed youth has been holding five or six children hostage.
According to the mayor’s office in Besancon, negotiators are in direct contact with the assailant.
Other local officials report the 17-year old has asked for a weapon so he can commit suicide.
The incident began shortly after the Charles Fourier kindergarten opened its doors for the day’s classes.
The kidnapper, who is believed to have a history of psycological problems, entered the building armed with two swords trapping 20 children inside.
He later released a dozen or so.